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Decline in oil prices, EndSARS protests worsened our conditions – Govs

Decline in oil prices that followed the global coronavirus lockdown and the social unrest that amplified the demands of the EndSARS protests worsened Nigeria’s economic…

Decline in oil prices that followed the global coronavirus lockdown and the social unrest that amplified the demands of the EndSARS protests worsened Nigeria’s economic and social conditions, the state governors have said.

The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said this in his opening address at the 6th annual Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) National Peer Learning Event aimed at deepening the drive for improved domestic revenues at the state-level through effective, efficient, fair and legal tax administration.

Fayemi disclosed that the 2020 half-year year-on-year IGR performance reported a negative growth of 11.7 per cent for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He, however, said despite the overall decline, some states recorded positive growth.

He stated that three states in the category were Ebonyi, Gombe and Yobe which recorded more than 50% in growth.

He said: “This year has presented us with a perfect storm of difficulties to deal with – from a health pandemic to the second economic recession in five years.

“At the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the forum worked with the federal government, international partners and the private sector to deliver the necessary response needed to contain the virus and ease out its impact on the lives of our citizens. These include the set-up of intervention funds, roll-out of social investment programmes, distribution of palliatives, initiation of tax incentive programmes to protect and support livelihoods and businesses.”

In her keynote address, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said going by the impact of COVID-19, the revenue outlook for 2021 depended on the willingness of state governments to embrace the right tools, technology and strategies to transform, enhance and strengthen revenue growth and sustainability, and adopt cost optimisation plans.

She said the impact of COVID-19 on the economic and fiscal revenue outlook for 2021 presented a significant opportunity for states to strategise and reposition their fiscal revenue management systems for this era called the ‘new normal’.

The finance minister, while speaking on the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI), said it is a blueprint and mechanism for enhancing fiscal revenues from 6% to 15% of GDP by 2023.